View this email in your browser

Learn To Make Your Own Bread (An Educators Degrowth Manifesto )

During the pandemic, one of the activities that saw an increase in popularity was people baking their own bread. So many of us were stuck at home and with that extra time, a lot of us learned how to make bread. To me, this is the ultimate local activity. You are in your kitchen, staring at your recipe or your sourdough starter and you have to figure it out for yourself.  This is the ultimate self-sustaining and self-reliant activity. The measure of success is whether you can eat what you’ve made. A bread maker is not reliant on anyone outside their home to tell them how they are doing.

Right now, today, those of us engaged in schooling on a daily basis are encapsulated in a system that demands constant "growth". We actually have "growth" scores for learners and schools that purportedly measure how much learners and schools have grown from one year to the next.

Education growth mirrors society's understanding of economic growth. In economic growth, as defined by our current policy-makers, all of us must spend 3-5% more than the previous year or the economy will stall. Think about that. The definition of economic growth states that all of us must spend more in the current year than we did in the previous year. If we do not increase our spending, then the economy goes into a recession or depression. The ramifications of people trying to "do their part" by spending more each year are obvious.

Imagine an economy where we don't have to increase our spending every year for the rest of our lives. If you can, this is called "degrowth."

Degrowth does not mean that society should go backward. When a river floods, it eventually goes back to the flow from before the flood...this is degrowth....not a negative thing, a sustainable thing.

In education, degrowth means that we should find the correct measurements to determine success. I say unequivocally that scores on a state-mandated test are not the proper measure. 

In education, degrowth means learners and schools are not in competition with each other.

In education, degrowth means there is a shift in importance toward local decision-makers. Currently, the entire narrative of education is controlled at the national level. Meanwhile, the local decision-makers have been diminished to the role of compliance monitors. Just ask any school board member about this if you don't believe me.

In education, degrowth means that community responsibility is as important as individual freedom.

Like the novice breadmaker staring at their recipe and adapting their breadmaking procedures to their climate, skill, and ingredients on hand, schools and local communities must figure out their own path forward in creating a degrowth school environment. Do not rely on national experts...use them as a guide, but not as someone with "the answer."

Inspiration And Aspiration

Inspiration to do something can lead to aspiration to do more of it. 

Aspiration can lead to inspiration when we want to do something about it.

I was talking with my cousin today and she is struggling, like many first-time moms, about sending her son to school this Fall. All of us have felt that nagging feeling of dread about sending our children to school. Not because we think the school is bad, or that bad things will happen, it's just an inevitable feeling one gets when you think about dropping your son or daughter off at school on the first day. Every parent wants their child to be inspired everyday in school...that’s the essence of a learner-centered leader!

Blogger and education thinker Tim Elmore talks about four steps to cultivate both inspiration and aspiration. (From his article, linked below)

First, ask students about what interests them or what makes them grieve or get angry. Often, aspirations begin with a negative emotion about something that must be done. Even if they’re apathetic, they must have some level of interest in something important.

Next, remind students their passions are not random.  What can you do when you catch a kid acting from compassion or serving others with passion? 

Third, review past experiences with your students. They inform our desires. 

Finally, help students take a first step. It doesn’t need to be strategic, but it helps to start while the thought is fresh. The longer we wait, the easier it is to wait longer. There will always be excuses. Empower students to get started now.
Read The Article
Values-Based Leadership
Three friends and I are in the beginning stage of writing a book. Dr. Pat Crawford, Dr. Duff Rearick, and Dr. Jay Scott are writing a book about the disciplines of leadership. We are in the process of identifying 20-25 disciplines that school leaders should consider when reflecting on their jobs.  It's a fun project and we hope to have the book out to all of you before Thanksgiving.

As we discuss our leadership disciplines, one thing is very clear...the foundation of all disciplines circles back to your values. Values are the engine that drive all of the other disciplines. For this reason, when any of us coach school leaders, we spend a significant amount of time clarifying their values. 

I came across this great article from Suzi McAlpine about values-based leadership. The link to the entire article is below.

Her 5 suggestions on how to adopt value-based leadership...they are really good.
  1. Define your values. What exactly are the values you hold dear as a leader? Leadership must be rooted in who you are and what matters most to you. Only when you know yourself and what you stand for can you lead with your values. Take the time to define them and establish a basic definition around how you express that particular value through your behavior. 
  2. Rank your values. Prioritizing your values might feel uncomfortable, but it’s necessary. There may be times that you will have to choose between them, so knowing which one ranks the highest can be crucial. Doss knew “thou shalt not kill” ranked highest for him, and this knowledge provided an anchor when things got tough. Equally, for me, my family came ahead of a project that would challenge my capacity and extend beyond the boundaries of my work time. 
  3. Practice your values daily. Your values don’t count if you don’t regularly demonstrate them. Make sure that whatever you deem to be your personal values are on show regularly for your team. 
  4. Embed your values. Get better at leading with your values front and centre by regularly reflecting on the following questions: 
  5. When do I find it easy to demonstrate these values?
    1. In which situations do I find it difficult to live these values?
    2. When I fell short, what was going on? What did I learn?
    3. What can I do next time I’m faced with a similar situation, to enable me to demonstrate my values more clearly?
    4. Why is this value important to me and what are the benefits to me and others when I lead with it? 
    5. Keep on going. Remember that values-driven leadership is a journey – it’s not about being perfect. When you do fall short, go back and repeat step 4.
Read The Article
Book Of The Week
Please Share
Thank you!
Share Share
Tweet Tweet
Forward Forward
Share Share
Copyright © 2022, Butler Leadership Consulting, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
263 Geary Road, Centre Hall, PA 16828

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.